Advantage Brecon at half time
“The month lay off may have been a little bit of a double edged sword” commented manager John Lyons “At times we certainly weren’t as accurate as we could have been but it was a good performance and we are still in there with a shout”
“Both teams can be excused for being a little cagey, there is a lot at stake. I’d imagine we may see a lot more rugby played next week. Its half time and we a 5-0 down with all to play for” added head coach Martyn Fowler. “We also have a few players unavailable yesterday who will come into contention for the return leg next week so all in all we are still very positive.”
On a sunny afternoon the home side started the brighter. Going through the phases they put the Wanderers under pressure but the visitor’s defence was solid and they thwarted the early attacks. Gradually the Wanderers warmed to their task and they showed a willingness to move the ball wide when chances arose. Having established some good field position they struck. A bouncing ball in midfield seemed to disrupt the defence and Cameron Gibbon picked up the loose ball. He broke down the left wing and chipped the ball ahead. The chase was on and Gibbon was first to the ball and he crashed over to open the score. Luke Fish converted 0-7. Brecon were striving to get their game into full throttle as they failed to find the accuracy in attack that they have been renowned for this season. A penalty gave them a lineout deep in Wanderers territory only to see Josh Sheehan steal the ball and Fish cleared to halfway. Back they came and there followed a period of sustained pressure from the home side. The Wanderers defence became stretched and off a scrum a neat inside ball sent them away to score besides the posts. The conversion followed 7-7. The Wanderers reacted well to the setback. Gibbon once again started the attack and after James Loxton set Max Cunnington away he was held up and bundled into touch short of the line. The strong Brecon scrum started to exert a little pressure but the game ebbed and flowed with little between the teams. The Wanderers suffered a blow when experienced flanker Lee Highgate was forced off with a shoulder injury after a crunching tackle to be replaced by Max Wootton. The move did though result in a penalty that Fish landed to put the Wanderers back ahead 7-10. Brecon hit back immediately from the kick off when an offside offence allowed them to level the score with their first penalty 10-10 and as the half entered its final minutes there was nothing between the sides. Fish had a chance to retake the lead with a long range penalty but his shot went wide. As the clock ticked to 40 minutes Josh Male made a superb break only to be thwarted short of the line but it set up a scrum in front of the posts as a last play of the half. Showing great composure in attack the Wanderers went through several phases and the home side were forced to kill a ruck in front of the posts. Fish kicked the penalty and the sides went into the break at 10-13.
The start of the second half saw the Wanderers start with some close quarter driving which set up good field position and when awarded another penalty Fish extended the lead to 10-16. Brecon hit back and the game started to open up after a long advantage played by the referee the home side reduced the arrears with their second penalty. Both sides started to create more chances and after another long advantage played by the referee Brecon levelled it up with another penalty 16-16. The home side started to ring the changes and then after a long discussion between the officials Max Wootton was alleged to have “neck rolled” a player at a ruck and he was sent to the bin for 10 minutes. Brecon took advantage of the extra man and they mounted a series of attacks. The Wanderers defence was resolute with Rob Lewis and Gareth Hall putting in huge shifts. The visitors tried to run down the sin bin clock and the Wanderers started to call for fresh legs. The game opened up allowing some of the backs on show to express themselves and when presented with turnover ball Brecon struck. Breaking clear down the left wing they raced away whilst the Wanderers defence was caught napping and they edged ahead 21-16. The home side’s tail was up and they looked more and more dangerous with ball in hand. The Wanderers had chances with Dan Apsee going close but as time started to run out Brecon secured the telling score. A break from a scrum set their backs away and once behind the defence they made it tell with an excellent converted try 28-16. The clock headed into injury time and it seemed that Brecon would take a handy lead into leg 2 but the Wanderers had the final word. Sheehan intercepted a pass and the visitors set up a series of attacks. With the Brecon defence running on empty Fish used his considerable bulk to crash over for the final try of the game which he converted himself leaving Brecon with a narrow 5 point lead with the return at the Wanderers next week.
Tries: Cameron Gibbon, Luke Fish
Cons: Luke Fish (2)
Pen: Luke Fish (3)
Management man of the match: Rob Lewis
Wanderers Massiv man of the match: Rob Lewis